Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Exalting the Lowly
The way that God looks at and deals with people is completely opposite of the way the world does. If a person is full of pride, they are brought low, but if they’re already lowly in spirit, God will honor them (Prov. 29:23). He will set on high those who are small in their own eyes (Job 5:11). Depending on how a person looks at themselves, God will either humble them or exalt them (1 Sam. 2:7). I would put it this way: Humble yourself, or God will do it for you. One’s a lot more painful than the other.
The Rock and the Hammer
We take prayer requests, and sometimes our prayers are so self-focused or focused on the problems of others that we fail to see that God might be working in our or others’ lives. Maybe we should consider how God uses trials in a person’s life, whether they are saved or not. If time and again we are always bailing out our unsaved friends, we might be getting in God’s way, getting between the rock and the hammer, so to speak. That is, we might be trying to solve a person’s problems when God is trying to use their problems to humble them so that they might seek Him. Some people need to hit rock bottom before they’ll turn to God. That’s often how many people finally overcome alcoholism. They hit rock bottom before they’re actually moved to stop drinking. Men like John Newton, who was near death in the hull of a ship before he finally trusted in Christ. His crisis became the path to salvation for him. If we saw the difficulties that people were going through, especially those who are not yet saved, would we change the way we look at them? In other words, could we see that God’s possibly working in their lives to make them come to an end of themselves? God cannot fix what is first not broken, and until a person is emptied of self, God cannot fill them.
Whom God Opposes
Did you know that God is actually opposed to the proud and will only extend His grace to those who are humble (James 4:6)? If you voluntarily humble yourself, God will exalt you someday (1 Pet. 5:6), even though it might not be in this life. If we are full of pride, then God is opposed to us, and that’s not good because God favors the humble and oppressed (Prov 3:34) and looks kindly on the lowly of heart (Psalm 138:6). Since this is true, then the opposite must also be true; he shows no favor on the proud and high. No one really wants God to be opposing them, I wouldn’t think.
A Closing Prayer
Father, I know that too many times I have been full of myself, and I have no reason at all to be so. Please forgive my arrogance and self-pride because I know You oppose me when I am. Help me to stay humble, contrite, and lowly in my own eyes so that someday you will exalt me at Jesus’ return, in Whose name I pray.
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